BAMTech CTO wary of open-source video codecs

Streaming Media Editor Eric Schumacher-Rasmussen (left) and BAMTech CTO Joe Inzerillo (right).

NEW YORK—Joe Inzerillo, executive vice president and CTO for BAMTech, urged caution with open-source video codecs.

Inzerillo said open-source codecs are “really tough” because on one hand, they’re royalty-free, but on the other, none have been tested, meaning they could result in a lawsuit if they’re eventually found to infringe. He added that becoming embroiled in a lawsuit could be more expensive than licensing a codec like HEVC.

At the same, Inzerillo said that H.265 video codecs deserve to be compensated but not in a way that takes all the capital.

RELATED: Alliance for Open Media launches open-source video project for 4K, other codecs

A number of royalty-free alternatives to HEVC have popped up in recent years. Last year, the Alliance for Open Media launched to promote open-source codec development, with supporting companies including Amazon, Cisco, Google, Intel and Netflix. Other open-source video codecs for high-resolution video include Cisco’s Thor and Google’s VP9.

Video codecs aside, Inzerillo said that BAMTech is enthusiastic about video technologies like HDR and hopeful that H.265 can continue with its compression gains. But he warned that the ecosystem for making HDR and 4K content is complicated and there are not a lot of great standards for H.265 in terms of distribution.

While live 4K and HDR video compression has a ways to go, Inzerillo said the video industry is becoming more comfortable with live and said that BAMTech wants to make sure it empowers any kind of consumption—including live, VOD and time-shifted—for its viewers.

Disney’s recent $1 billion investment into BAMTech will help the company push toward building integrated video offerings with deeper VOD and live offerings. That investment may pay off when Disney launches a standalone ESPN streaming service later this year, but before that, BAMTech is likely to debut the Eurosport streaming product it's building in cooperation with Discovery Communications.